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Brick-Toting Reminder Comes a-Tumbling Down

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Officials of the small Central Heights Independent School District in Nacogdoches, Tex., gained almost instant notoriety this spring when they came up with what seemed to be a mnemonic breakthrough--a vast improvement on the old idea of tying a string around the finger to jog the memory.

In April, four students in the 5th and 6th grades of the district's elementary school were asked to carry a brick for part of the day as a way of reminding them to bring their books and pencils to class. It was not a punishment, but merely a one-time "gimmick'' that proved to be very effective, according to Superintendent of Schools James Bogue.

Unfortunately, the gimmick not only jogged the students' memories but promped a parent to file a complaint with the Texas Education Agency.

But it was just an isolated incident that was "blown out of proportion,'' says Mr. Bogue. By the time the complaint was lodged, students were no longer toting bricks to class, he told T.E.A. officials who called to advise the district to abandon the practice.

"Students were not mistreated,'' he insists. In fact, other students, looking for attention, asked if they, too, could carry a brick.

In retrospect, though, Mr. Bogue says that while the method worked and the students remembered their books and pencils, "since we got so much adverse attention, we wish we hadn't done it.''JW

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